Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On the Way Home...

My students have a bad habit of following me home. They've figured out where my building is but have yet to divine which apartment is mine (which may prove difficult to keep hidden as my kitchen window looks out onto a fairly well-traversed alleyway). Upon exiting school, I was greeted by a gaggle of my former 6th grade boys who are now in middle school.

After we parted ways, one of my favorite 4th grade girls (one who is persistent in her quest to come to my home) stopped to chat. Thankfully she headed off towards her house, which is in the opposite direction of mine. And then just when I thought I was in the clear came an, "ERIN TEACHAAAA!!!" Of course it was the first boy who ever followed me home.

As I approached the foot of the small hill up to my building I looked at him and, thinking this a perfect opportunity to try out some newly learned Korean, said "Kedario." This is a word I recently learned during class. Apparently it's used frequently in tele-dramas, but it comes out more like "Kedariariariariario!" accompanied by a tear-streaked face and outstretched arm. It means "Stay."

He then turned to me and without hesitating said, "I am not dog!"

I almost lost it he was so funny! I had never thought about it like that before. So I retorted, "No, but you are student!" He giggled and skipped away with his buddies. He knew why I told him to stay. I was just surprised he answered me with a full English sentence (the small grammar mistake is forgivable - articles are rough!). Now he has no excuse to be so silent in English class. Man I'm going to miss these kids.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Things to Look Forward To

Korea is festival central. And as a temporary resident and avid traveler, I feel the need to soak in as much Korean culture and life as I can. So here is my short list of festivals, events, and to-dos I am looking forward to in the coming months, before I return to the states:
  • Re-visit Andong: Go to Jim-dak Alley (찜닭) and eat the most delicious Korean food from the source. Visit the Hahoe Folk Village where visitors can take part in and catch a glimpse of traditional Korean life, crafts, and ceremonies.
  • 1st Birthday Party: My coteacher's adorable baby girl is turning 1 year old in May. As is customary in Korea, there is a big party (called 돌/dol) during which a special ceremony (the 돌자비/doljabee) is performed. The ceremony entails placing the baby at a table filled with objects such as books, money, scissors, brush, thread, etc. The baby then chooses an item from the table. The chosen item is said to indicate what kind of person the baby will grow to be - if the baby picks up the book, they will be a scholar.
  • Seongju 10k: My second 10k race, my third race in Korea, and my preparation run for the big Jeju 10k in June! We also get a pair of sneakers and a box of chamhoe melons!
  • Jeju Marathon Festival: As mentioned, I am running the Jeju 10k with a friend. We will also be cheering on our brave friend Bridgette as she runs her first FULL MARATHON! Go Bridge! We will be enjoying the weekend of sun and island life, too. 
  • Boryeang Mud Festival: It's a Korean version of Spring Break only covered in MUD! This should be an excellent time. Will absolutely post about this. 
  • Temple Stay: I've heard great things from friends who have done this. You stay for a night or two in a Buddhist temple and live life like a monk does. This includes wearing the temple uniform, performing the 108 bows, eating traditional temple food, meditating, learning about Buddhism, and enjoying the other arts of the temple (this can range from calligraphy to martial arts). I will likely go to the Golgulsa Temple in Gyeongju, as it is close by and a friend gave it positive reviews. (The temple also practices a super cool martial art called Sunmudo.)
There will of course be a few more things in store for me here before I leave but these are the big ones. If you'd like to check out the other festivals going on in Korea year-round, check out the official Korea Festival website.